Guide to Taming an Uneven Skintone at Home

Were you one of the sun goddesses that laid out for hours on end, trying to get that much admired “golden glow”? I was. Well…sort of. I had a deep olive complexion growing up, from a Sicilian heritage on my dad’s side of the family, so I had no trouble getting that “glow” that everyone raved about. It actually only took me a few minutes in the sun to get that look, where other girls would either lay under the sun or in a tanning booth for hours. I was, however, a pool queen. I would swim for hours and hours, so my sun exposure was compounded. And sunscreen? The only thing we knew about sunscreen was that you should use at least a “2” on your face, and baby oil was ok for everywhere else. How absurd was that?!?!

Years later, when I hit my 30’s, I wondered where my beautiful, even complexion went.  What I didn’t know was that those years of being in the sun started to damage both the lower and upper layers of skin. I had what a lot of people refer to as the “sun mask”. I thought that my once beautiful complexion was gone permanently, but read on if you’re interested in finding out how I corrected that.

An uneven skin tone can come from many things: sun exposure, cold & wind exposure, and scarring from acne or chicken pox  among many other things. The steps to correct an uneven skintone, regardless of the cause, is basically the same. But you’ll want to try to figure out the cause to make sure that your skin stays beautiful after all of your hard work.

There are 2 basic things you need to know about an uneven skintone, there is damage on the surface, and there is damage below the surface. Using maintenance treatments alone (basic cleanser, toner & moisturizer) will not correct the damage, but the right ones can help minimize any future damage. There are few advanced maintenance treatments that have the extra ingredients to help correct your skintone, but you’ll need to look at the labels to be sure.

I might sound like a broken record by now, but exfoliation is one of the most important things you can do for your skin. This goes for your body as well as your face, but I’ll concentrate on the face for now. Exfoliation takes off the top damaged layers of skin, to reveal brighter, younger-looking skin, and with that, a more even skintone. It also helps reduce the appearance of  wrinkles, because the skin is softer and smoother. Picture trying to flex a piece of paper in your hands; if it’s dry, it wrinkles easily and the wrinkles don’t ever flatten out. But when it’s wet the paper is pliable and moist. Deep exfoliation (also known as dermabrasion) cannot do all of this alone, you’ll need a light chemical peel as well. A chemical peel actually loosens the “glue” between the skin cells so they come off more easily. Otherwise, you could scrub your face raw and still not get the same results. Here are some of the treatments that I recommend to my clients:

Deep Repair
Now that you’ve started getting the upper layers looking good, it’s time to correct some of the damage deep inside. There are a few ingredients to look for when trying to correct damage deep within the layers of skin: Retinol, Resveratrol, Alpha Hydroxy (AHA) and Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHA) are some  of the most effective ingredients. The one thing you need to be aware of is that even if a product claims to have these ingredients, the amount that it contains might be so small that the product isn’t effective. Generally, the products and treatments that you can find at grocery and drug stores won’t contain enough of the active ingredients to make a big difference. It’s like throwing your money down the drain. Do your research, and make sure that you’re getting some bang for your buck. Depending on your skin condition and sensitivity you may not be able to use of these ingredients. If you have any questions, please contact me and I can help you find what ingredients are best for your skin. Here are some treatments that have a high concentration of  effective ingredients:

For the Eyes
One last thing to consider is that the skin around the eye area is structured differently than the rest of your face. For this reason, you should use a product that is specifically formulated for your eyes to minimize doing harm to the area around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves. Some ingredients can actually cause blindness or cataracts if used too close to your eyes, or on the eyelids. If the products doesn’t specifically say you can use it on your eyes, then please keep it away from your eye sockets.

The most important thing that I teach my family and friends is that you can’t correct some of the past damage, as well as prevent future damage right at home. Treatments like the ones I listed can help you minimize the cost of treating skin damage, as well as protect your skin from future damage. However, in extreme circumstances, you will have to see a dermatologist. And obviously, none of the treatments I listed above can help with cancerous lesions or melanomas. If you have any moles or areas that look suspicious, please consult a dermatologist immediately.

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